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The Effects of Foreign Aid on Refugee Flows

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  • Dreher, Axel
  • Fuchs, Andreas
  • Langlotz, Sarah

Abstract

This article is the first to systematically study whether foreign aid affects the net flows of refugees from recipient countries. Combining refugee data on 141 origin countries over the 1976-2013 period with bilateral Official Development Assistance data, we estimate the causal effects of a country’s aid receipts on both total refugee flows to the world and flows to donor countries. The interaction of donor-government fractionalization and a recipient country’s probability of receiving aid provides a powerful and excludable instrumental variable, when we control for country- and time-fixed effects that capture the levels of the interacted variables. Although our results suggest that exogenous aid induces recipient governments to encourage the return of their citizens, we find no evidence that aid reduces worldwide refugee outflows or flows to donor countries in the short term. However, we observe long-run effects after four three-year periods, which appear to be driven by lagged positive effects of aid on growth.

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  • Dreher, Axel & Fuchs, Andreas & Langlotz, Sarah, 2018. "The Effects of Foreign Aid on Refugee Flows," GLO Discussion Paper Series 195, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:195
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    Cited by:

    1. Marina Murat, 2020. "Foreign aid, bilateral asylum immigration and development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(1), pages 79-114, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    foreign aid; Official Development Assistance; migration; refugees; displaced people; humanitarian crises; repatriation policies;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other
    • H84 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Disaster Aid
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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